NEW YORK, NY.-
Artist and choreographer Ralph Lemon has co-organized a three-week program of dance performances by six internationally renowned choreographers for The Museum of Modern Art
. Commissioned by MoMA, Some sweet day is being presented in the Museums Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium from October 15 to November 4, 2012. The series showcases three pairings of six internationally renowned choreographersSteve Paxton and Jérôme Bel, Faustin Linyekula and Dean Moss, Deborah Hay and Sarah Michelsoneach engaged in an aesthetic, generational, and historical dialogue about dance. In bringing together choreographers from different backgrounds and eras, Some sweet day demonstrates how the current state of dance can engage with a variety of subjects such as aesthetics, gender, race, and history. Concurrentlyby putting a focus on choreography in an institution that traditionally showcases static objectsthe series explores the potentials and possibilities of the museum space. The program is organized by guest curator and choreographer Ralph Lemon with Jenny Schlenzka, Associate Curator, MoMA PS1, and Jill A. Samuels, Producer, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art. It is presented as part of MoMAs ongoing Performance Program, organized by Sabine Breitwieser, Chief Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art.
At the outset of the project, the six choreographers were faced with a set of curatorial questions, and were asked to reflect on the potential forms of dialogue their works could enter into within MoMAs Marron Atrium, considering the Museums particular architecture, audience, and relationship to modernism.
Some sweet day begins with two of Steve Paxton's seminal postmodern works, Satisfyin Lover (1967) and State (1968), which question the established parameters of dance, while also addressing the artists fascination with the ideas of the pedestrian and the ordinary body. Some sweet day also marks the New York premiere of State. These works are presented together with French conceptual choreographer Jérôme Bel's The Show Must Go On (2001), which in many respects is a response to Paxtons works, 35 years later and from a contemporary European point of view. The Show Must Go On also presents a cast of New York City dance luminaries paired with nonprofessionals.
The following two weeks feature newly commissioned works created specifically for the Marron Atrium, and begin on October 24 with a work called What is Black Music Anyway.../SelfPortraits, by Congolese dancer and choreographer Faustin Linyekula joined by Congolese composer/guitarist Flamme Kapaya and South African singer Hlengiwe Lushaba. Linyekula shares the week with the American experimentalist Dean Moss who will collaborate with visual artist Laylah Ali. The two join forces in the work, Voluntaries, which reexamines the legacy of John Brown, a white abolitionist who attempted an armed slave revolt in 1859, resulting in his capture and execution. Additionally, the week includes a two-day interstitial performance, I Want My Spot Back, by the American artist Kevin Beasley, an aural work that uses DJ mixing equipment and the sound of predominately black hip hop music to emphasize the bodys relationship to dynamic social conditions.
The final week features the pairing of Judson Dance Theater founding member Deborah Hay with Sarah Michelson. Hay will contribute a dance for 27 performers titled Blues. The work is inspired by a vision of making a dance for 11 African American dancers performing in the second floor atrium, while a group of 12 white American dancers are present in the Museums main lobby on the ground floor. The artist sees the choreography as a way to ground the space in life. Michelson will exhibit Devotion Study #3; her celebrated work Devotion Study #1 was featured in the 2012 Whitney Biennial. The two iconic and rigorous dance artists are in a generational conversation on movement, space, and time.
On every Saturday of the series artists and curators will be present for responses. Each discussion will be led by a different respondent, among them Daphne A. Brooks (Princeton University), Douglas Crimp (University of Rochester), and Brent Hayes Edwards (Columbia University).